Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Tower Cross, 1897-1970
Tower Cross was an honor society for seniors founded in 1897 by then-student Alaric Bertrand Start. Election to Tower Cross was considered one of the highest honors that could be bestowed on an undergraduate. The group's motto was "For the Highest" and its mission was "to advance the best interests of Tufts College by maintaining a high standard of loyalty among the undergraduate students." Induction took place in a ceremony in Goddard Chapel complete with caps and gowns.
Tower Cross played an important role in campus activities. Its members organized lecture series, all-campus dinners, and other activities. Until 1903, when the Interfraternity Council was organized, Tower Cross oversaw the annual rush period for all fraternities on campus. Officially, Tower Cross was charged with the following activities: it ran Tufts Night and rallies before games, assumed the duties of the Under Class Rules Committee, supervised competition for organized cheerleading, policed regular chapel meetings, ran the annual sports dances, assumed the duties of the Athletic Association Nominating Committee, conducted organized financial drives, conducted elections of cheerleaders, conducted Junior and Sophomore elections, including counting of votes, elected from its own membership three men to represent Tufts on the Class Day Committee. The society also sponsored two annual singing competitions, the Christmas Sing and the Spring Sing. In these competitions student groups, either fraternities, sororities, or dormitory groups, prepared songs and were awarded prizes for their performances.
Election to the society at first was by vote of the faculty, but after the first class was elected, election was by the membership of the society, who selected the following year's members from the Junior class. During the academic year 1923-24, there was criticism as some felt that fraternity politics and popularity had undue weight in the selection process. A revision of the rules in 1929-30 changed the process and from that time forward the society nominated qualified members of the rising class, and the class as a whole voted to elect members of the society.
The last elections for the society were held in April 1969 for the 1969-70 academic year.
Source: TN, Spring 1946, 143-44; LOH1; AO14